Signs And Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in your overall health. As a result, theres a broad range of signs and symptoms that could signal a hormonal imbalance. Your signs or symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands are not working properly.
Common hormonal conditions affecting people of all genders could cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
- purple or pink stretch marks
Keep in mind that these symptoms are nonspecific. Having one or a few of them doesnt necessarily mean that you have a hormonal imbalance.
Some of these symptoms may also reflect other chronic conditions. So, if you find yourself dealing with any notable changes in your body or energy levels, its a good idea to talk with your doctor.
How To Test For Low Testosterone
Next, lets discuss the two kinds of testosterone tests. Your doctor may only use one of these tests depending on your symptoms. The two tests are:
Free Testosterone Test Testosterone attaches itself to albumin and sex hormone binding globulin . A free testosterone test checks only for testosterone not attached to proteins.
Total Testosterone Test Checks for both attached and free testosterone levels.
If its possible, make your test appointment for the morning. This is when T levels are at their highest. Tell your doctor beforehand if you are taking any supplements or medication.
Evaluating Decreased Libido: The Lowdown On Low T
Urgent message: Hypogonadism not only impedes biological development, but also negatively impacts a patients sense of identity and well-being. Prompt diagnosis is achievable through strategic utilization of hormone level testing in conjunction with a patients stated symptoms and medical history.
Lisa O. Iyeke, BS and Mark J. Richman, MD, MPH
Citation: Iyeke LO, Richman MJ. Evaluating decreased libido: the lowdown on low T. J Urgent Care Med. 2021 16:33-34.
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Relationship Problems: Causes And Solutions
Many times, the problem is simply that the couple is bored. There is no novelty, which is the kiss of death to human sexuality, says Lou Paget, a sex educator certified with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists and author of The Great Lover Playbook.
Other problems include lack of communication, trust, and intimacy, pent-up resentment, and body insecurity.
Most of these problems can be dealt with through honest face-to-face conversation when youre vertical not horizontal. Why? Because when youre horizontal you often have heat of the moment involved. These conversations may include comments like This is what Id like to try, this is how I feel or they may be part of counseling with a trained sex therapist, in which you will explore emotional issues that may contribute to sexual dysfunction through cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness therapy.
What Are The Sex Glands And Sex Hormones
Ovaries in the female reproductive system produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Women with hypogonadism are often low in estrogen and progesterone.
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Who Might Have Hypogonadism
Starting in their late 40s or 50s, everyone has lower amounts of sex hormones. As a result, sex drives decrease. These changes are expected. They arent necessarily a sign of hypogonadism. Younger people who have little to no interest in sex may have hypogonadism.
Conditions and treatments that raise the risk of primary hypogonadism include:
- Pituitary tumors and disorders.
Hormones And Sex Drive In Women
Hormones play a critical role in a persons sex drive, either increasing it or decreasing it. For women, the primary hormones related to sex drive are estrogen and progesterone, and their levels can change for a variety of reasons over the course of a womans life. This can result in times of high sex drive in females and other times when sex drive is diminished.
Too many women think a low libido is just a natural part of aging, particularly after menopause. The truth is there are several treatment options that can improve a womans sex drive, including adjusting hormone levels. Learn about how hormones and sex drive in women are linked and when to talk to your doctor about how your hormone levels may be affecting your interest in intimacy.
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Are Other Health Conditions Affecting Your Low Testosterone
Men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have low testosterone levels. Insulin resistance is common in men with low T even if they are not obese. About one in four men who see their testosterone drop to low levels also see a rise in their insulin resistance.
But low T may be a side effect of type 2 diabetes as well. In a study looking at hormone levels in diabetic men, over one-third had low levels of free testosterone. So type 2 diabetes seems to have a direct effect on the testosterone that is available for your body to use.
That doesnt mean losing weight wont raise testosterone. Studies show that as body mass index rises above healthy levels, testosterone declines. The good news is overweight and obese men suffering from low hormone levels may see a reversal in their testosterone by losing weight.
Another study looked at the effects testosterone therapy had on men with type 2 diabetes and low hormone levels. Some studies have shown an increase in heart problems in men prescribed testosterone. But one study found that testosterone lowered insulin resistance. This coupled with weight loss significantly lowered participants risk of heart disease.
How Can I Prevent Low Estrogen Levels
You cant avoid drops in estrogen associated with getting older. You can put healthy habits into place that lead to overall balance in your life including more balanced hormones. These changes dont always require hormone therapy. For instance, exercising in moderation and meditation can help with sleep disturbances and fatigue associated with low estrogen. Getting enough calories and the right kinds of nutrients can improve every aspect of your health. Using a lubricant can make sex more pleasurable.
Depending on whats causing your low levels and the severity of your symptoms, you may need medicine to help. Speak with your provider about your options.
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Women: 50s And Beyond
Around age 50, an âempty nestâ or less worry about getting pregnant might make some women more interested in sex. But as you head toward menopause, estrogen levels drop, which might cool your libido down a bit and lead to vaginal dryness. Hot flashes, anxiety, weight gain, and sleep problems also can make you less in the mood. Ask your doctor about medicines, hormones, lubrication, and other treatment.
Natural Remedies And Supplements
Many nutritional supplements on the market claim to treat menopause and hormonal imbalance. However, few of them are backed up by scientific evidence.
Many of these supplements contain plant-derived hormones. These are sometimes called bioidentical hormones, because they chemically resemble the bodys natural hormones. Theres no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy, however.
Some people find that yoga helps ease symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also aid in weight loss, which can help regulate your hormones.
You can also make the following lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight. If your doctor has recommended it, a reduction in body weight may help regulate menstrual cycles and increase the chances of getting pregnant. Weight loss may also help improve erectile function.
- Eat well. A balanced diet is an important part of overall health.
- Use lubes or moisturizers free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum.
- Avoid hot flash triggers when possible. Try to identify things that commonly trigger your hot flashes, such as warm temperatures, spicy foods, or hot beverages.
- Remove unwanted hair. If you have excess facial or body hair, you can use hair removal cream, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.
The primary cause of acne is excess oil production, which leads to clogged pores. Acne is most common in areas with many oil glands, including the:
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How Is Low Sex Drive Diagnosed
Diagnosing low sex drive may be complicated because there’s really no “normal” level of sex drive. If you’re bothered by your lack of interest in sex, doctors may start by asking you questions about your symptoms and medical history. In some cases, doctors may then perform a blood test or other screening tests to look for low levels of sex hormones like testosterone, which may be the cause of low libido. For women, doctors may perform pelvic exams to check for physical problems that may cause a decrease in sexual desire. You may be referred to a counselor or therapist to find any psychological or relationship issues that may lead to low sex drive.
Signs Of Low Testosterone In Men
Hormone imbalance doesnt only strike in your 50s, and it doesnt only affect females. Its particularly common for hormone imbalances in men to go undiagnosed and unaddressed.
This might have something to do with the fact that men are known for avoiding doctors, even though they die an average of 5 years sooner than women !
If youre experiencing symptoms like these, it could mean that your testosterone levels are too low:
- Increase in body fat
- Erectile dysfunction
But it doesnt stop at low testosterone. High levels of testosterone can also have some unfavorable symptoms. If youre interested in learning more, keep reading our article about signs of testosterone imbalances in men!
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What Medications Treat Low Estrogen
Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for low estrogen, especially during menopause and postmenopause. With HT, you take synthetic forms of estrogen and/or the hormone progesterone to boost your levels. There are two types of HT, estrogen therapy and estrogen progesterone/progestin hormone therapy . Providers prescribe the lowest doses possible to treat your symptoms while preventing side effects.
The only FDA-approved reasons for body-wide hormone replacement therapy are low bone mineral density and hot flash treatment, typically in the form of pills or patches. Vaginal estrogen in the form of rings, creams, and vaginal inserts are formulated to treat vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Sometimes “body wide” estrogen can affect the vaginal tissue. Sometimes it doesnt. Vice versa, vaginal estrogen is not approved for the treatment of hot flashes.
Its not unusual to need vaginal estrogen in addition to body-wide estrogen if youre experiencing hot flashes and painful sex.
Youll take estrogen supplements only, with no progesterone. Your provider will only prescribe this therapy if you no longer have a uterus .
Estrogen progesterone/progestin hormone therapy
HRT isnt without risks. Research has shown that long-term use of combination therapy may increase your risk of breast cancer, blood clots, heart attacks and stroke.
What To Do If I Have Low Testosterone
If the results of your testosterone testing indicate that you have Low-T, depending on your presenting symptoms and medical history, your doctor may prescribe testosterone injections. While testosterone therapy can be given in other forms, our doctors have found that testosterone injections are the safest and most effective form of testosterone therapy.
If the results of your testosterone blood tests indicate that your testosterone levels are below the normal ranges for your age, weight and gender, you may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.
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Why Fsh And Lh Levels Matter
Primary hypogonadism diagnosis occurs when tests show low FSH and LH in males. Hypogonadism is when consistent blood tests show low testosterone. Primary hypogonadism is mostly seen in individuals with Klinefelter Syndrome. This is a condition where males have an extra X chromosome.
Secondary hypogonadism is when the hypothalamus doesnt produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone . FSH and LH levels may be below normal or appear normal, but testosterone will be lower than average. This is the kind of low testosterone we see in ageing men.
Tips And Tricks To Boost Your Sex Drive
Losing your sex drive can be a really stressful experience and not only impact your health but also your relationships.
You dont have to accept a low sex drive there are lots of things which can help to boost it, including:
- hormone replacement therapy to boost your oestrogen levels you’ll need to work with your GP to see if this is right for you.
- changing up your routine in the bedroom variety is the spice of life so get creative!
- managing your stress levels from bubble baths to regular walks there are loads of things you can do to lower your stress levels.
- trying an adaptogenic herb like ashwagandha can help to help regulate your cortisol levels. It’s a good idea to work with a health professional before trying a supplement.
Its worth visiting your GP or a health professional to learn what the right treatment is for you.
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How Can I Improve My Sex Drive During And After Menopause
Estrogen replacement may work, but more research is needed. Estrogen can make sex less painful by treating vaginal dryness, though.
Doctors are also studying whether a combo of estrogen and male hormones called androgens may help boost sex drive in women.
Although sexual problems can be hard to discuss, talk to your doctor. There are options to consider, such as counseling. Your doctor may refer you and your partner to a health professional who specializes in sexual dysfunction. The therapist may advise sexual counseling on an individual basis, with your partner, or in a support group. This type of counseling can be very successful, even when its done on a short-term basis.
A sexual aid called Eros is available by prescription to treat women with disorders of sexual arousal. The device consists of a small suction cup, which is placed over the clitoris before sex, and a small, battery-operated vacuum pump. The gentle suction provided by the vacuum pump draws blood into the clitoris, increasing pressure on the clitoral nerve. This device increases lubrication, sensation, and even the number of orgasms in many women who have used it.
Causes Of Low Sex Drive
There are so many factors that can impact libido, these can be physical, psychological, or caused by external factors or lifestyle. Sex drive typically decreases after menopause in women, but also generally declines in men as they age as well.
Also impacting libido, increased stress, anxiety, or mental health problems can decrease the desire for sex. Unfortunately, many medications used to treat anxiety or depression can also cause a slump in sex drive. Drug use, smoking, and alcohol also affect sex drive negatively.
We are all prone to notice changes in our sex drive throughout our lifetimes. Generally, periods when you have a low libido shouldnt be a cause for concern, but if you notice a change in your sex drive or find a lack of libido is impacting your well-being you should speak to your doctor. In some cases therapy can be used to combat stress, which in turn can combat low libido or erectile dysfunction in men.
While it might seem like its is everywhere, from the saucy song lyrics playing on the radio to the sexed-up yogurt commercials on TV, recent studies have shown that our interest in actually having sex is declining over time. Take research into this topic with a pinch of salt though, as societal pressures and social norms mean those asked about sex might not always be entirely truthful, contributing further to false perceptions of what a healthy desire for sex might be.
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What Is Female Low Energy And Sex Drive
Due to many women feeling chronically fatigued, theyll start to notice a lower desire for sex. Its important to note that a decreased sex drive doesnt always indicate a decreased attrition to your partner, but it instead may indicate health issues.
A low sex drive may look like not wanting to have sex as frequently with your partner as you did before or finding it more difficult to be aroused. You may also find yourself quickly losing interest during sexual activities youve previously enjoyed.
A Note About Free Testosterone
When we are testing for and diagnosing someone with low testosterone, it is always our goal to find what it the optimal or normal range for their individual needs, goals and lifestyle. As you can see from the charts above, even a respected testing lab such as LabCorp can say that for a 60 year old man, a level of 6.6 pg/mL of free testosterone can be normal, and yet our doctors know that we see patients in that range that feel far from normal. Over the years of treating a variety of men between the ages of 35 and 65 with the symptoms of low testosterone, our doctors have discovered what we believe to be the optimal and not necessarily the normal level of free testosterone in the blood. We strive to get most patients regardless of age into a range of from 20 25 pg/mL, and find that most men can enjoy a great quality of life, free from the symptoms of low testosterone at that level.
Most of the testosterone in your bloodstream is what is known as bound testosterone, and a smaller percentage exists in the blood stream as free testosterone.
What Causes A Woman To Have Decreased Libido
Since there are so many causes to decreased libido in females, we cant ever know for sure what your specific trigger is. All we can do is share the 10 best female libido supplements with you and feature a handful of reasons why others have libido issues, so that you can go to your doctor and learn more about the specifics in your situation.
Some of the reasons women say they have lowered libido are:
- Hormone fluctuations
- Stress fluctuations
- Mental health issues
The above list isnt all inclusive, but it does feature a handful of the most popular reasons why females suffer from lowered libido.
As weve said before, there are simply too many variables to the problem of lowered female libido, so we arent able to conclusively identify the cause of your problem. We know that stress, mental health and motherhood issues, as well as new baby or lifestyle adjustments and similar issues are all relatively simple things that will either get better in time or with minimal effort.